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by Tim G
August 29, 2002
Sovereign Hill is built around this mine site and to tour it is easily the best part of the day. Well worth the extra few dollars.
The tour takes you into the mine where you will see the cages that the miners would descend down into and ascend up out of the mines in. You'll see work stations, break areas, etc. all the while learning a lot about what life in the mines is like from the knowledgable and energetic guide.
The highlight is towards the end of the tour when you enter a space that was once full of quartz but has since been mined out. It is here where you'll be shown and told about the nuts and bolts of how it was extracted.
And then tour ends with a train ride out of the mine.
From journal Day at Sovereign Hill
As a foreigner, much of the historical significance was lost on me but I still found the place great fun as well as interesting.
There are some seventy buildings modeled after those that lined the streets of Ballarat in the 1850's. And they are run and operated by staff in period costume. I've never seen a recreated town of this magnitude. And they pull it off so well. It really is great fun.
Worth making a point ot visit is the Empire Bowling Saloon where you can try your hand at an interesting type of bowling. All of the shops and machine rooms are quite interesting. You can witness a gold poor, drop in on the blacksmith, the goldsmith, the wheelright, visit the steam powered engine house, etc. And check out the lazy horses operated some of the older machinery when you first come in. All great fun.
Also check out the various stages of mining. There's the pan mining in the creek, which you can try for yourself. Then there's the Red Hill mine, which has a decent underground tour. And of course the deep undergound Quartz Mining Tour.
The place has an air of excitement around it and seems to really capture the spirit of fortune seeking and frontier living. Wonderfully enjoyable.